OHA Chair Demands Censorship of Kakaako Coverage
VIDEO: Oz Stender Said What About OHA?
Corruption: Al Hee Indicted on 13 Counts--Could Get 39 Years in Federal Prison
Gay Marriage Advocate Starts Pushing Polygamy for Hawaii
Bob Jones: Those of us who espoused same-gender marriage on the grounds that government should not control whom we marry find ourselves in a bit of a pickle about polygamy.
If we’re free to marry any man or woman, why not several men or women?
Both same-gender and polygamist marriages are abhorrent to a lot of Americans, but don’t they both fall into the same constitutional niche about equality? (One moronic red herring leads to another.)
The answer from pro-traditional family groups is that a single marriage protects the welfare of children. But legal precedence says the state must have compelling evidence of that, not just recite common beliefs.
So maybe polygamy is the next challenge?
read ... Polygs
Hawaii Supreme Court hears gay marriage arguments
AP: Hawaii’s Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments in a state Republican representative’s lawsuit challenging the gay marriage law.
While the Legislature was considering the bill last year, Rep. Bob McDermott tried to stop the state from issuing any marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The circuit court denied his motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. McDermott appealed.
McDermott’s lawsuit says the Legislature didn’t have authority to pass the law.
Arguments are scheduled for Thursday....
read ... Gay Marriage
Part of a Broader Plan: Homosexual Teacher Helps School Kids Come Out as Gay
TA: ...I joined Teach for America in 2011 and served for two years as a seventh-grade special education math teacher in Oahu, Hawaii, where I was working in the lowest-ranking public school in the state....(It was Nanakuli High & Int School) During my first year teaching, I always put off the idea of being out to my students....
(Now moved to LA) ...our goal is to allow all LGBTQA corps members to feel comfortable, educated, and aware of all the resources available to an out teacher in the L.A. Unified School District, and to support their students’ backgrounds and diversities.
...our monthly sessions are only a small part of a broader plan by Teach for America to provide more support for its LGBT corps members. In October, Teach for America announced a launch of its national LGBTQ initiative, “to support LGBTQ students and create safe classrooms for them to learn, bring educational equity to the forefront of conversations within the LGBTQ community, expand the impact of LGBTQ students, corps members, alumni, and staff; and help demonstrate teaching in high-need schools as a career pathway for those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning."
LINK: Meet the Teacher
read ... Amir Moini
Hawaii churches continue to struggle for their religious freedom
LSN: People are probably inclined to think more warmly of churches amid the cold winds of Christmas than at any other time of the year, but, sad to say, even the spirit of the season isn’t enough to dissuade some from all out legal assaults on houses of worship.
In Hawaii, for instance, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys earlier this month had to file an appeal of a recent trial court decision that breathed new life into a baseless lawsuit against two Oahu churches being targeted by atheists. The lawsuit accuses the churches of defrauding the government by paying substandard rent to the public schools in which they meet each week – even though the school districts themselves say the churches have consistently paid all agreed-upon rents.
The atheists filed their suit under the state’s False Claims Act, which allows “whistleblowers” with inside information to expose fraudulent billing by government contractors … provided they can provide clear evidence of the fraud. The atheists haven’t offered a shred of such evidence against the churches, nor does the atheists’ complaint meet several other requirements of the law. That prompted a trial court to dismiss the most critical aspects of the lawsuit last spring – but now the court has decided to let the case proceed, anyway.
“Congregations serving the neediest in their communities deserve better than trumped-up accusations stemming from a clear hostility to churches,” says James Hochberg of Honolulu, who is serving as co-counsel and is one of more than 2,500 private attorneys allied with ADF. “We trust that the appeals court will come to the right conclusion so that these churches can continue with their important work without any further harassment.”
(Meanwhile, the two atheists who filed the lawsuit have relocated to Michigan – where they are already bringing a similarly baseless complaint against a memorial cross in that state.)
read ... Life Site News
Hawaii Reports 1 Child Abuse Death from fiscal year 2008 through 2013
AP: The Associated Press asked all 50 states, the District of Columbia and military services to provide information on children who died of abuse or neglect over a six-year span, even as authorities were investigating them or their families or providing some form of protective services.
read ... 1 Too Many
$500M Short? HART Cites Its Own Incompetence as Reason for Massive GE Tax Hike
SA: Oahu's rail transit system is on track to cost at least half a billion dollars more than originally budgeted, according to a financial assessment released Thursday by rail officials, who blamed lagging tax revenues, fast-rising construction costs and project delays.
The report, presented at the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board meeting in Kapolei, warns that the $5.26 billion rail project could wind up costing taxpayers 10 to 15 percent more than budgeted. A 15 percent increase would raise the project's total cost to more than $6 billion.
To deal with the mounting costs, rail officials are floating (Straw-Man arguments designed to steer the gullible into extending the 0.5% GE Tax) several possibilities, including one the city has been reluctant to take so far: Diverting more than $200 million in federal dollars normally used for the city's bus system. (Now we will discuss this straw-man proposal at length to scare you into raising taxes.)
Those so-called "5307" federal Urbanized Area Formula Program funds were included in the financial plan to build rail essentially as an added layer of insurance, even though various elected leaders and bus advocates questioned the move. Federal transit officials also cautioned against using those dollars for rail, citing Honolulu's relatively old bus fleet.
Now, in its "project risks update" report, HART officials say the city will have to come up with $210 million from somewhere else if it wants to keep avoiding the federal bus dollars included in the rail financial plan. (OK. Enough with the Straw Man, lets get to the real point.)
The new HART report further suggests that to help pay the growing costs to complete the project, city and rail officials should consider extending the 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge for Oahu, which is scheduled to expire in 2022 -- or even lift the tax's sunset altogether.
It's a move that city and rail leaders already have been discussing for about a year. (That's the most honest sentence in the entire article.)
CB: Honolulu’s $5.2B Rail Project Could be Up to $700M Over Budget
read ... We're Failures so give us more money
Star-Adv: OHA's challenge to open-meetings ruling lacks merit
SA: Created by the 1978 state Constitutional Convention, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is a public trust and state agency — that's a fact, albeit one that might not sit well among a growing number of Hawaiian sovereigntists. And as a state agency operating with state employees and funds, OHA must abide by the state's Sunshine Law, or "open meetings law," as do other state entities.
So it is concerning that OHA is contesting a two-pronged ruling by the Office of Information Practices (OIP) that aims to keep OHA discussions in the open as well as accessible to the public.
OHA's Dec. 5 appeal in Circuit Court of OIP's Nov. 7 ruling is the first test of a law that went into effect January 2013. This case has ramifications for how other state agencies operate; for the sake of good, open government, it is imperative that OIP's finding be upheld....
In assuming chairmanship of OHA on Dec. 9, trustee Robert K. Lindsey Jr. said the board on his watch will always work on behalf of the best interests of OHA's beneficiaries. Given that, it's jarring that the first order of business under new leadership is to challenge OIP's solid ruling that seeks to keep OHA's business transparent. The Sunshine Law, via OIP, must keep the workings of OHA, and other state agencies, as open as possible....
And then he did this: OHA Chair Demands Censorship of Kakaako Coverage
read ... Meritorious Editorial
PRP Gets $3,100 Fine For Campaign Violations
CB: Groups affiliated with Pacific Resource Partnership, an advocacy group for union carpenters and contractors, were fined $3,100 by the state Campaign Spending Commission on Wednesday for failing to report expenses and other information.
The commission voted 4-0 to levy penalties on the Hawaii Carpenters Market Recovery Program Fund, Forward Progress and PRP executive director John White.
Commission attorney Gary Kam told Civil Beat Thursday that the fine were based on three separate counts.
read ... How Rail Was Approved
P20: Public schools need flexibility, but be clear about what kind
SA: In other words, systems that moved from low to adequate performance pursued tight, top-down approaches. But to move to good — or even great — performance, schools and teachers took on increased responsibility to shape instructional practice.
We see three implications for Hawaii:
» Preserving the strategic plan ensures consistency.
» By demonstrating a strong foundation of shared leadership, curriculum, instruction and assessment as well as student results, schools should earn flexibility.
» Be clear on what type of flexibility is earned. For instance, high-performing schools deserve more control over their bell schedule, how teacher-leaders take on added responsibility, and to prevent marginal teachers with seniority from transferring in.
Let's also be smarter about the state office, complex area and school. This proposed approach frees schools with strong performance records to innovate. But support and oversight remain for schools with erratic performance.
The state must continue setting system wide direction via academic standards and performance data to hold schools accountable. We should also guarantee a base level of equitable resources and operational supports statewide, as well as provide economies of scale in areas like student transportation and food services....
read ... Castle Foundation
2nd Director Put on Leave at Nepotistic Charter School
SA: Debit cards for Halau Lokahi Charter School's bank account have been canceled and the co-director of the school placed on administrative leave in the wake of a raid by the Attorney General's office.
As a new governing board works to restructure the school, details are emerging about how the charter school spent money under the previous administration in the last school year, when it ran out of funds and stopped paying rent and staff. More than $101,000 in expenditures in the fiscal year that ended June 30 were flagged by the Public Charter School Commission as "needing explanation."
The school made out 15 checks ranging from $856 to $21,347 to individuals without indicating what services were provided or showing evidence of a contract, according to a summary compiled by the commission. Other payments included $8,516 to Rainbow Healing Arts, which offers treatments including lomilomi, and $4,982 to Young Living Essentials, a purveyor of essential oils....
On Dec. 2, school co-director Callei Allbrett was put on leave. She had been business manager and became co-director after her mother, Laara Allbrett, the school's founder and long-time director, was forced to resign in July.
Asked to comment on the expenditures, Callei Allbrett told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that "the real story is about the struggles and challenges of Hawaii's native people."....
According to a commission staff report dated Dec. 11, Laara Allbrett continued signing checks for the school even after she resigned, and she and a relative had debit cards for the school's bank account. Earlier this month, the school told the commission that account signatories had been changed and the debit cards canceled.
Other relatives on staff are Laara Allbrett's daughter Kari Kalima, an operations specialist who is on the governing board; son Kealii Bright and son-in-law Kalani Kalima, both teachers; and Bright's partner, an accounting clerk.
The commission is withholding the next distribution of per-pupil funding until Halau Lokahi reports by Jan. 2 on the status and results of the school's restructuring efforts. The money will be released after commissioners decide "whether there is a reasonable likelihood that the school can successfully continue operations through the end of the 2014-15 school year," according to a motion passed Dec. 11....
Fascinating story about teacher at this school: Tranny Annoyed with Petulant 'Husband'
read ... Nepotism Continues
As NextEra Closes in, Blue Planet Demands 100% 'Clean Energy' Cars
PBN: Blue Planet Foundation, a green energy nonprofit founded by Hawaii entrepreneur Henk Rogers, has hired a former transit-oriented development planner with the City and County of Honolulu as its clean transportation director.
The Honolulu-based nonprofit said Wednesday that Shem Lawlor will oversee transportation initiatives aimed at 100 percent clean mobility, from efforts to reduce vehicle miles traveled, to adoption of alternative fuel vehicles, to clean transportation policy proposals.
He also will manage the Honolulu Clean Cities program, which Blue Planet Foundation took over from the state this past summer.
"Blue Planet's mission to achieve 100 percent clean energy relies on transformation in the transportation sector as well as in power generation," Jeff Mikulina, executive director of Blue Planet Foundation, said in a statement. "Shem's experience, passion, and commitment to moving Hawaii toward sustainable mobility will help expand Blue Planet's focus on big clean transportation solutions."
read ... Money Hungry
Mayor veto of GMO Ag Tax stands
KGI: The Kauai County Council on Wednesday officially killed a bill that would have used lease rents, rather than fair market values, to help calculate real property tax assessments for biotech research land users.
The decision, by a 5-1 vote, affirmed Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s veto against the bill earlier this month in which he expressed concerns about the bill’s impact on the agricultural industry on Kauai and the county’s ability to enforce it.
The council agreed.
“I don’t see how it fits into an equitable tax system,” Councilman KipuKai Kualii said before casting his vote against the bill.
KE: Musings: Petty Politics
read ... No New Taxes
GMO appeal squeaks through council (Mainland Anti-GMO Groups Make Same Worthless 'Free Representation' Offer)
HTH: ...“This is an important decision with far-reaching impact on home rule,” said Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille, author of the original bill limiting GMO. “It’s not just about GMO.”
Puna councilmen Greggor Ilagan and Danny Paleka joined Hilo councilmen Dennis “Fresh” Onishi and Aaron Chung on the no votes. They cited concerns for local farmers and a reluctance to enter what could be lengthy litigation.
The county ordinance bans growing GMO crops in open-air conditions, with some exceptions.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren invalidated the county law in a Nov. 27 order, saying state law pre-empts county law on the issue. He said lawmakers intended the state to have broad oversight of agricultural issues in Hawaii.
National nonprofit environmental advocacy groups Earthjustice and the Center for Food Safety are interested in representing the county at no charge, said Paul Achitoff, managing attorney for Earthjustice mid-Pacific regional office.
Reality: Anti-GMO Activists Welch on Promise to Provide Pro-Bono Defense for Kauai County
read ... Appeal
SHOPO, Former Chief Speak up for Embattled Kealoha as Commission Refuses to Act
HNN: Chief Louis Kealoha appeared before the Police Commission Wednesday afternoon but did not address the controversy during the public comment period. Others did instead, both for and against him.
"We stand behind our police chief, his command staff, and all our commanders and supervisors wholeheartedly," said longtime head of Hawaii's police union SHOPO, Tenari Maafala.
"When I look at the current mindset of what we have in the police chief and the SHOPO president, I think we need a change," Nancy Manali-Leonardo said in front of the commission.
Six people commented during the public hearing, majority in support of Kealoha and the Honolulu Police Department.
"A lot of it is allegations. And I think the people has to understand to let the commission do its job," said former HPD Police Chief Lee Donohue.
Two of the six speakers were critics. Manali-Leonardo said Kealoha cannot handle what's on his plate.
read ... As FBI Closes in
Judge Hawaii County Aerial Animal Eradication is Illegal
HTH: ...A judge Thursday dismissed a lawsuit that sought to exempt state employees and contractors from county and state laws banning aerial hunting.
The ruling by Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara thwarts state plans, at least for now, to conduct aerial hunting of feral ungulates such as sheep, goats, swine, cattle and axis deer beyond critical habitat of the native palila bird on Mauna Kea. A ruling in 2013 by a federal judge mandated aerial eradication of the mammals in the palila habitat.
The state sued the county last month seeking an injunction barring the county from prosecuting Department of Land and Natural Resources employees and contractors hired to perform aerial eradication outside the palila habitat under county or state law.
The judge took a hard line with Deputy Attorney General Michael Lau, saying “let’s focus on the state law.”
“There’s no firing from any aircraft. What’s the legal justification for doing that?” Hara inquired....
read ... No Aerial Hunting
UH Management Chaos? All they need is $9.7B and Everything Would be OK
MW: Let’s get right to it: What’s wrong at University of Hawaii? Presidents, chancellors, coaches and athletic directors come and go, but they’re not talking of Michelangelo. No, they’re citing personal reasons. Or they’re fired, their contracts bought out. Or, horror of horrors, they feel the jerk of the golden parachute: a tenured full professorship at an administrator’s salary....
Which brings me back to Tom, Gib and Ben. Manoa chancellor Tom Apple offered to cover millions of dollars of athletic department debt, largely built on several seasons of losing football. Somebody upside of the Quarry had to pay for that, and while academics seldom enjoy the celebrity of coaches or administrators, they do know when their sustenance is endangered.
Thus it was goodbye, Tom. And, as Star-Advertiser columnist Dave Reardon pointed out last week, Apple’s departure meant Jay would say goodbye as well.
No one knows as yet what Arnold and his assistant did to warrant his firing, but it appears to have been enough for the NCAA to do serious sullying on the university’s front porch.
So what’s wrong up there? Simple. It’s difficult to manage a modern university with a Division I athletic program anywhere. It’s easier at the University of Michigan, say, where a $9.7 billion endowment cushions the work of presidents and athletic directors.
The endowment of University of Hawaii is $179 million. While American university presidents last an average of eight-and-a-half years, University of Hawaii has had five presidents — and five athletic directors — since 1993. Enough said.
read ... Lack of Endowment?
No Hawaii Assisted Living Center Meets More Than 75% of Goals
PBN: ...The Healthcare Association of Hawaii has recognized 35 of its long-term care provider members for reaching at least one of four national quality goals set by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.
The four goals set by the AHCA and NCAL's Quality Initiative are to reduce hospital readmissions within 30 days by 15 percent, reduce nursing staff turnover by 15 percent, decrease the use of antipsychotic medications by 15 percent, and increase customer satisfaction to reach 90 percent of residents and families willing to recommend each health center....
Although results are confidential, Hilo Medical Center and Hale Nani Rehabilitation and Nursing Center each achieved three of the four goals....
read ... 2 at 75%
Bikers refusing to use new King Street bike lane
KITV: Confusion on King Street! After the road is revamped for bike safety. Bicyclists finally have a lane of their own, but now some are breaking the law. ... Some riders are refusing to follow the rules of the road. Drivers headed down king street have a lot to deal with during rush hour ... "I see bicyclists on the other side of king street not using the bike lane and people are confused as to where to turn where not to turn" ever since this bike lane went in, it is against the law for bicyclists to be in the regular lanes of traffic....
read ... Refuse
City crews Pick up 6 Tons of Homeless' Trash: Continue daily enforcement of "stored property ordinance."
KITV: "We served notice yesterday giving them 24 hours to vacate the premises and doing so the people that were encamped there left trash and debris which we picked up," said Ross Sasamura, the city's facility maintenance director.
Six tons of debris was picked up from a stretch of area near the Kapalama Canal.
"At such time that they move on, they don't take everything with them and they just leave it there for others to deal with and so our crew does go out there to remove quite a bit of debris," said Sasamura. A city crew does the clean ups, five days a week at different places.
KITV: City crews make homeless sweep along Kapalama Canal
read ... City crews continue daily enforcement of "stored property ordinance"
Hawaii is Home to Last Baby Boomer--He Can't Afford to Leave
DS: Carlos Barientos III was born at 6:45 on the evening of Dec. 31, 1964, a few miles northwest of Honolulu. This year, he will turn 50, quite possibly making him the last member of the U.S. “baby boom” to do so. The generation that once seemed to define for the world the energy, excitement and even irritating nature of youth will officially be “old” – even if, some might say, not entirely grown up. ...
Those born during that 19-year period – from 1945 to 1964 were part of the largest, most prosperous, best-educated and, some might say, most indulged and indulgent generation that the world has ever seen.
From sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll to the civil rights movements to the dot-com era and housing bubbles....
Barientos, who owns and run his own guitar shop with his father, does not readily identify himself as a baby boomer. In fact he feels closer to the “Generation X” that followed....
Barientos’ claim to be the last U.S. boomer rests on Hawaii’s position as America’s most westerly state in a time zone located two hours behind the Pacific coast. It also means, though, that he lives a life that is somewhat different from that of many of his peers on the mainland. “The food, the language, the weather – Hawaii isn’t like the rest of the U.S.,” he notes. “The first time I left Hawaii, I was 25 years old. I went to Maryland to visit a friend for two weeks and ended up staying five years because I loved it so much.”
If he had the money, Barientos says he would probably be a “snow bird” – spending summers on the U.S. mainland and winter in Hawaii. “There are things I’d like to do with my family that we just can’t do here, such as [going to] museums, amusement parks or large sporting events.” He could not leave permanently, though – there are too many things to enjoy at home. “I love the people, the culture – pretty much everything.”
read ... Hawaii Home of the Last Baby Boomer